“I’m happy that their verdict was to give my son justice,” said Sybil Davis, 46, mother of Anthonie Smith, 25.
The jury deliberated for three days in the civil trial in U.S. District Court in Riverside before awarding Davis $1 million for the loss of her son and $1.5 million for his pain and suffering, said Davis’ attorney, John Harris of Los Angeles-based Harris & Associates, who filed the wrongful-death lawsuit.
Riverside County and sheriff’s Sgt. Sharee Anthony, who at the time of the shooting was a corporal, were the remaining defendants when the jury reached its decision.
About 3 a.m. on July 16, 2015, Davis had reported that Smith, who was diagnosed as being bipolar and schizophrenia when he was 18, had assaulted a family member at their Fire Avenue home, the Sheriff’s Department said at the time. Deputies tried to talk with him, but he struck one of them in the head before jumping out of a second-story window and fleeing.
About 6 a.m., Anthony and Deputy Deylan Kennedy caught up with Smith in the middle of the road near the intersection of Sunnymead and Perris boulevards, just south of the 60 Freeway. The Sheriff’s Department’s statement immediately after the shooting said Smith was carrying a knife and a hand tool.
Two videos of portions of the shooting were discovered, Harris said: A longer video, of poor quality, from a USA gas station; and a second but shorter video of higher quality filmed by a motorist.
Before that second video started, Smith had lunged at deputies while holding a pair of blue pliers and been shot nine times by Kennedy, Harris said.
The video starts with Smith on his back before getting up and standing unsteadily, the top of his pants at his knees and his hands to his side. It was unclear if he held anything. Anthony and Kennedy pointed their guns at Smith. Anthony fired, and Smith went down for the final time. The video then shows Smith lying in the road.
The judge dismissed Kennedy as a defendant, Harris said, after ruling that Kennedy was justified in firing at Smith. It was Anthony’s shot, Harris said he believes, that convinced the jurors that Anthony acted recklessly.
“They had concocted a story … that turned out to be a lie – that right before that last shot, Mr. Smith lunged at them. They also lied that he was reaching into his waistband for a weapon,” Harris said. “They importantly said Mr. Smith never went down.”
Harris said he believes the deputies were unaware of the existence of the videos when they made their initial statements to homicide detectives. [MORE]